Meg Okura

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Meg Okura
Birth name 大倉恵 (Megumi Okura)
Also known as Meg Okura, 大倉めぐみ
Born (1973-08-09) August 9, 1973 (age 42)
Ome, Tokyo, Japan
Genres chamber jazz, Jazz, world, classical
Occupation(s) Musician, composer
Instruments Violin, erhu, electric violin
Years active 2001-present
Associated acts The Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble, Emilio Solla y La Inestable de Brooklyn, Pharaoh's Daughter,
Website Official website

Meg Okura (born August 9, 1973) is a Grammy nominated jazz violinist, composer, erhu player, and leader of the Pan Asian Chamber Jazz Ensemble, based in New York City. She is also a member of the band Pharaoh's Daughter, Emilio Solla y La Inestable de Brooklyn, which was nominated for the 57th Grammy Award for Best Latin Jazz Album, and New York Tango Quartet, among others. She has worked with jazz and pop legends such as Michael Brecker, Lee Konitz, Dianne Reeves, Steve Swallow, Tom Harrell, David Bowie and Mariko Takahashi as well as actor/musician Terrence Howard. Okura has also been the featured violinist in the Cirque du Soleil shows Varekai, Corteo and Wintuk.

Early life[edit]

Meg Okura (大倉恵, born in Tokyo, Japan), started studying music at Toho Gakuen School of Music at five. As a child, she served as a church pianist and organist at an Evangelical church in her home town of Ome. In the early 1990s, Meg Okura toured Asia as the concertmaster and soloist of the Asian Youth Orchestra. In 1992, she made her U.S. solo debut with the late Alexander Schneider and the New York String Orchestra at Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. She has earned bachelor's and master's degrees from The Juilliard School as a classical violinist. However Okura switched to jazz upon graduation.

Personal life[edit]

Meg Okura has been married to American jazz soprano saxophonist and composer Sam Newsome since 2004. Although Okura grew up in an Evangelical Christian household, she converted to Reform Judaism in 2013 after a decade of contemplation. Newsome and Okura live in New York City with their Afro-Asian Jewish daughter.

Honors & Awards[edit]

The Grammy Award, 2015 (Nominee)

Manhattan Community Arts Fund (Lower Manhattan Cultural Council)- 2013 & 2015

New Music USA Project Grant (New Music USA)- 2014

Brand Personality Award, The BrandLaureate Asia Pacific Brands Foundation)- 2012

Meet the Composer, Metlife Creative Connections Grant - 2008

Manhattan Community Art fund (LMCC)- 2008

American Composers Forum, Jerome Composers Commissioning Program- 2007-2008

Meet the Composer, Metlife Creative Connections Grant Urban Artist Initiative / NYC - 2006

2005 International Songwriting Competition (Honorable Mention)

2005 American University Saxophone Symposium Composition Contest (Honorable Mention)

The 2003 John Lennon Songwriting Contest (Honorable Mention)

The 2000 John Lennon Songwriting Contest (Honorable Mention)


As A Leader

With Other Artists (Partial List)

  • Lee Konitz and The Axis String Quartet Play French Impressionist Music Turn of 20th Century
  • Subtle Touch by Darryl Hall (2000)
  • Candelabra Cadabra by Patti Rothberg (2000)
  • Global Unity by Sam Newsome (2001)
  • Heathen by David Bowie (2002)
  • Slow Burn by David Bowie(2002)
  • Exile by Pharaoh's Daughter (2002)
  • Dragonfly by Ziggy Marley (2003)
  • Don't Take Your Time by Erin Bode (2003)
  • Times Like This by Heidi Grant Murphy (2003)
  • Close To My Heart by Jeremy Pelt (2003)
  • Another Girl by YOLA (2003)
  • L'Aventura by Dean & Britta (2003)
  • Christmas Time Is Here by Dianne Reeves (2004)
  • The Music Of Eric Whitacre (2004)
  • L'Histoire Du Clochard: The Bum's Tale by Steve Swallow (2004)
  • While the Music Lasts by Jesse Harris (2004)
  • Baila! Gitano Baila! by Roberto Rodriguez (2004)
  • Queen's Dominion by Basya Schechter (2004)
  • Three Fingers by Roger Sisters (2004)
  • Oy Vey! Ole! by Roberto Juan Rodriguez (2006)
  • Tube Mouth Bow String (2006)
  • Eiger by Eric Friedlander (2007)
  • Haran by Pharaoh's Daughter (2007)
  • Welcome To My Bad Behavior by edibleRed (2007)
  • Blood Pressure by George Colligan (2008)
  • The Music of Tea (2008)
  • First Basket by Roberto Juan Rodriguez (2009)
  • In My Life by Rondi Charleston (2009)
  • Re: Generations Nat King Cole (2009)
  • Year of the Snake
  • Personalities by Fabian Almazan (2011)
  • State of Art by Ben Williams (2011)
  • Angel Of Repose / Live In Japan (DVD) by Michael Brecker Quindectet (2011)
  • The Candombe Jazz Sessions by Sabrina Lastman (2012)
  • Boardwalk Empire, Vol. 2 (2013)
  • True Colors by Erika
  • Ripples by Noah Baerman (2014)
  • Views From The Inside by JC Sanford Orchestra (2014)
  • Second Half by Emilio Solla Y La Enestable De Brooklyn (2014)*2015 Grammy Award for Best Latin Jazz Album nomination
  • Dumiyah by Pharaoh's Daughter (2014)


  • Kingdom of David: The Saga of the Israelites (2003)
  • The Empty Building (2004)
  • The Congregation (2004)
  • Art or Something Like It! (2007)
  • The Meaning of Tea (2008)
  • The Wildest Dream (2010)
  • Louie (2012)
  • Boardwalk Empire (2013)


External links[edit]